Time slowed down for participants in the Viking Era Sewing Workshop, which was held near the end of April at the Danish American Center (DAC) in Minneapolis. The atrium at the DAC was filled with work tables and busy sewers, who learned to create a tunic shirt or dress of linen, using a needle and thread. The atmosphere was one of calm as hand sewing commenced and some chatting happened at each work station. Instructor Kelsey Patton checked in with each person and periodically demonstrated another step to show what kind of seam was required or how to handle raw edges. Her assistant Paul McLagan worked on his own stitches in between supporting the newer learners.

Patton comes from Nebraska and has a business in which she creates era-specific and period appropriate clothing. McLagan is a Twin Cities resident, and a participant in the Viking Age Club Sons of Norway group. Part of their work involves giving demonstrations, doing live-steel combat or more hospitably working as greeters at the Minnesota Vikings home games during football season.

The Iron Age Weekend included the sewing workshop, as well as an evening of presentations and dance. Patton gave a presentation on Viking Age garments and undergarments. Twin Cities performer Kari Tauring, a finalist in the first season of “Alt for Norge,” led circle dances and gave a presentation on Nordic identity. It was a full house for the dancing at the DAC.

Sewing participants were motivated to take part because they were each on a personal heritage journey. Clothing was yet another connection they could establish, adding this to their portfolio of cultural knowledge, life experiences and DNA. One said, “I like the simplicity of it. I wanted to make a garment from the beginning.” Another added, I want to make a costume that reflects all of my heritage.”

Some group members are performers and will add the new piece of clothing to their work wardrobe. Others are members of Sons of Norway groups, and will wear their garment when representing their lodge at festivals and events.

For more information about the presenters visit their websites: Performer Kari Tauring works out of the Twin Cities and can be found at www.Karituaring.com. Kelsey Patten has an online shop at www.SpindleShuttleNeedle.com. The Danish American Center is a venue that is used by many Nordic groups throughout the Twin Cities, for dancing, concerts, classes, and other gatherings. Its contact information is dainfo@dac.mn or www.dac.mn.